Thursday, December 8th, 2016

The learning never stops

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The learning never stops

Recent events hold many lessons

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Waukesha Freeman September 5, 2013 Opinion Page A6

Welcome to the end of summer. My daughter started school last week and my son this week. But as I always tell my kids, learning never stops, even for the summer, even for adults. Although recent events show some people learn the hard way.

* * * The Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance released an analysis Tuesday stating that insurance rates are going to go up under the new Obamacare exchanges. While many people may not pay the higher rates because of built-in federal subsidies, nonetheless costs are going up.

It isn’t that hard to figure out. Obamacare coverage mandates will increase the costs to the insurance companies, and those costs are passed along to the consumer.

While critics of Gov. Scott Walker will complain that the numbers released by his administration do not include the subsidies, we’re all going to pay for those subsidies in the form of higher taxes, higher insurance premiums, and higher government debt.

It’s been often said, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” Somebody will have to pay.

* * * Downtown Waukesha’s Saturday evening event for Harley-Davidson motorcycle riders did not draw the hoped-for crowds. It’s too bad because they are the kind of tourists the downtown should be courting.

Unfortunately, it was a case of doing too little too late. By the time some downtown businesses started planning the event, most of the public relations work for Harley-Davidson’s 110th anniversary was already done.

What was needed for a successful event was a professional staff that knows how to plan and promote events like Saturday night’s Harley-Davidson celebration. Somebody that would have known how to coordinate with corporate sponsors to maximize the publicity potential.

Downtown Waukesha had that once when the Business Improvement District was operational. But it’s gone now. Failing that kind of staff expertise, at least a coordinated effort well ahead of time was needed. But that would have taken leadership from the mayor or at least the downtown alderman to bring the sides together a year ago to make a successful event.

But at least the streets were closed. It preserved the impression most people from out of town have about Waukesha, the streets are impossible to get around.

* * * The Town of Waukesha is continuing its infighting, this time over a long-proposed Walgreens. The fight is nominally over whether to allow the Walgreens to be open 24 hours.

My friend Chris Lufter, who would be directly affected by the Walgreens development, criticized one town supervisor in a letter over his opposition to the 24 hours request.

In response, Lufter was attacked by another town resident and former Town Board Chairman Angie Van Scyoc for not attending town board meetings “where information, discussion and deliberation take place.”

Apparently, that’s not where deliberation is taking place. It’s occurring in personal attacks in letters to the editor.

Van Scyoc is not even on the board anymore and yet she’s attacking someone else on a personal level in the community for daring to criticize a supervisor?

If the Town of Waukesha’s residents had any doubts it made the right decision last spring in voting Van Scyoc out, she’s managed to erase them since.

I hope she didn’t have any plans for a political comeback.

* * * Democratic state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout says people want her to be the “grass-roots” candidate for governor. Let me translate. That means, “I don’t have any money, and nobody is going to give me any.”

Meanwhile, Democratic Party apparatchiks are taking Madison School Board member Mary Burke on a meet-and-greet of prominent state Democrats. (Right now, it’s a short list.) Why? Because Burke can self-fund her campaign.

Interestingly, one of the recent stops was to meet with disgraced former state Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager. Before that, it was three-time gubernatorial loser Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

I hope Burke is taking plenty of notes and takes all of their advice because, as I said before, the learning never stops.

(James Wigderson is a blogger publishing at http://www.wigderson.com and a Waukesha resident. His column runs Thursdays in The Freeman.)

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